Monday, October 20, 2008

Post-Marathon Post

So, the big event is over! I signed up for the Denver Marathon in January and finally completed the 26.2-mile run yesterday around 12:30.

After the run I was getting a free 10-minute massage and I was trying to decide which was harder, the 26-mile marathon or the Penn State Dance Marathon (which I did twice in college, it is 48 hours of no sitting and no sleeping to raise money for kids with cancer). I think I have come to the conclusion that running for 26 miles was much more difficult. Although, I did the dance marathons four years ago… so maybe the perspective is a little skewed.

So, how did it go? Well, I woke up just before 6am and woke Jess up (she slept over) and we ate some oatmeal and jogged down to the start line which was only a couple blocks from my apartment. Jess was part of a team of her, Aimee, Nick, and Ashley who ran the marathon as a relay along side me (Jess ran 6 miles, Aimee 4, Nick 9, and Ashley 7). I was ready to go in the morning had tons of energy. For the first 10 miles i felt awesome. I was keeping a great pace and felt like I would have no problem finishing.

Then at around miles 12-13 I slowed down significantly. I was at sea level for most of last week (Boston, for work) and for the first time I could really feel that my lung capacity wasn’t what it should have been. This really upset me because before the marathon I had run up to 18 miles and had never in any of my runs had a problem with breathing. But summer wasn’t a busy travel season and I spent most of my time up here at 5,280 feet. After I started struggling with my breathing, I lost my stride and rhythm and it was an uphill battle for the rest of the race. Typically, my breathing is consistent for my whole run, and I get in a groove and have no problem just going forever. But that was definitely not the case for the marathon. I had to stop several times to walk (mostly when we came to water stations I would walk while I drank) and I was just really dragging.

I would say that the middle 10 miles (13-23) were the longest 10 miles I have ever ran. But as we got closer to the finish line, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. Then, with about a 1/2 mile left, I saw my friends on the side of the road (aimee skipping along side me for a bit!) and that was just the boost I needed to get me to the end. As I came around the final corner, I turned off my IPod so that I could take in all of the cheering down the shoot to the finish line and heard the announcer over the microphone chanting "Rachel, Rachel, Rachel..." I looked up and saw the announcer standing with all of my friends and Kevin chanting into the microphone for me. It was awesome. A perfect finish.

I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed because I was hoping to just be able to run the whole thing and I never thought for a minute that I would fall apart and run so pathetically during the second half. BUT I did do it. I completed a marathon so I am very proud of that.

I want to give a shout out to “Team Raz,” my friends running the relay alongside me and Kevin for carting them around to the various relay exchange points. I really appreciated every minute that they were with me. Especially Nick and Ashley who where with me from mile 13 on, when I was really struggling. I know they both could have run much faster, but they just trucked along next to me the whole time encouraging me and for that I am very grateful. I really don’t know if I would have made it without them.

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll ever do a marathon again. I’m sure I’ll do more ½ marathons, but full marathons are a completely different beast. Maybe I’ll run one more so that I can redeem myself and actually run the race the way I should have yesterday. But I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of this!

Here are my splits for anyone who’s interested:

Mile 1: 10:23
Mile 2: 9:57
Mile 3:10:10
Mile 4: 10:18
Mile 5: 10:44
Miles 6 & 7: 20:52 (combined)
Miles 8 & 9 : 21:13 (combined)
Mile 10: 11:12
Mile 11: 10:43
Mile 12: 10:49
Mile 13: 11:04
Mile 14: 12:46 (bathroom break!)
Mile 15: 11:29
Mile 16: 12:10
Mile 17: 13:14
Mile 18: 13:36
Mile 19: 14:26
Mile 20: 14:45
Mile 21: 15:06
Mile 22: 15:46
Mile 23: 15:50
Mile 24: 14:16
Mile 25: 14:16
Mile 26: 14:03

Average = 12:23

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